There are plentiful ways to get into the holiday spirit in this season of bounty, from the turkey on the table to the comfort of loved ones surrounding you — and yes, that carries over to the best double IPA in your glass.
That’s right: What you’re (responsibly) imbibing through the holidays deserves as much consideration as the Thanksgiving feast that awaits, and that’s why the best double IPAs belong in your fridge.
Our take is pretty simple this Thanksgiving: If you’re only going to have one high-quality beer before, during or after dinner, opt for something that can be savored without leaving you too full. A double IPA is a hopped-up, pleasantly boozy way to add a brew to your Turkey Day rotation without the heaviness of a stout (save those for a December snowstorm).
Of course, it’s also the boozier older brother of the best IPAs, so it packs plenty of flavor and punch. They’re also a nice change of pace from the best Oktoberfest beers, which have arguably hit their shelf life already, so get ready to restock your fridge with fresh brews.
Better still is the fact that the best double IPAs are just a nice way to ease into winter’s heavier beers, all the while delivering a refreshing bite of hops.
When in doubt, don’t overthink it: Beer is meant to be enjoyed among good company with great food on your plate, and the best double IPAs just might make you slow down, savor that feast and contemplate a few moments of gratitude. We’ll cheers to that this season.
1. Bell’s Hopslam
BEST OVERALL DOUBLE IPA
Bell’s bumped up the release of its flagship double IPA to earlier in the fall instead of January, and hops-fueled enthusiasts (this writer included) should give thanks for that. It’s a beer remarkable in its freshness and intensity without overdoing it since a touch of honey cuts through with a slight sweetness. For our money’s worth, it doesn’t get better than enjoying one fresh off the canning line in Michigan at the brewery (as yours truly did earlier this fall). In the meantime, pick up a six-pack for the holiday weekend: It’s as fresh and flavorful as it gets.
2. Sierra Nevada Atomic Torpedo
BEST CLASSIC DOUBLE IPA
Sort out your holiday beers in quick order with a timeless option from Sierra Nevada, one that manages to straddle the line between a hoppy, hazy East Coast (or New England) IPA and a more bitter West Coast IPA. Think of Sierra Nevada’s utterly unstoppable Pale Ale, then amp it up in assertive hop character while maintaining a touch of softness. If it’s a balanced IPA that drinks more like a symphony than a torpedo, you’re in luck. Note that it comes in a 19.2oz. can for a bit of added imbibing enjoyment.
3. Lagunitas Maximus
BEST HOPPED-UP DOUBLE IPA
Don’t get us wrong: Every double IPA is, by its nature, packed with plenty of the good stuff (hops, hops and more hops). But there’s something about Lagunitas Maximus, with Cascade hops (think grapefruit) and Simcoe hops (for a touch of bitterness and pine) that go the extra mile. It’ll taste even more pleasant as it warms ever-so-slightly (in my humble opinion) and could offer a touch of hoppy zest to cut through the richness of your Thanksgiving dinner platter.
4. 10 Barrel All Ways Down
SMOOTHEST DOUBLE IPA
Smoothness can be a bit of a dangerous thing in the beer world (too smooth and you might end up sipping on a few too many without even realizing it). But in this case, that smoothness provides a nice balance for a 9 percent ABV beer. In fact, this brew is a year-round staple for 10 Barrel out of the buzzy Oregon city of Bend. The key here might be Mosaic hops, which hit on all kinds of citrus notes. Instead of a fruit-forward wine this holiday season, consider a remarkably smooth, pleasingly citrus-tinged brew.
5. SweetWater H.A.Z.Y. Double IPA
BEST JUICY DOUBLE IPA
It’s like we keep saying: Double IPAs are certainly hoppier than your standard IPA, but what about a double IPA that delivers a dash of juiciness, not hop burn, despite the higher ABV? That’s the balance this hazy double IPA strikes, with tasting notes touching on pineapple, mango and more. If you happen to be in a more temperate climate for Thanksgiving (or not!) and want a double IPA that’s smooth even in the heat (or wherever you happen to be), this one gets our seal of approval.
6. Lawson’s Finest Liquids Hopzilla Double IPA
BEST DOUBLE IPA FOR DINNER
Here it is, the main event of your Thanksgiving Day: Dinner. Even if it’s served early as you watch afternoon football, you’ll need something to whet your whistle. We suggest a cold one that, according to this fan-favorite Northeast brewer, is everything you could want in a “brawny, dry-hopped ale.” Centennial hops, with pleasantly bitter character, are the star of the show among this hop trio, but be sure to sip carefully: This one packs a punch at 8.7 percent ABV.
7. Ommegang Neon Neon Rainbows
BEST DOUBLE IPA FOR DESSERT
What’s your favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal? Turkey? Mashed potatoes and gravy? Or perhaps you’re a Midwesterner (like this writer!) that enjoys green bean casserole? It might even be the final course, but don’t overdo it on the pie: Save some room instead for a truly rich DIPA that almost drinks like a dessert itself. Flaked oats add a smoothy, creamy mouthfeel to this New England IPA, which also makes use of Centennial hops for that classic hop bite you crave.
8. Firestone Walker Double Mind Haze
ALSO CONSIDER FOR YOUR BEER FRIDGE
Still, have some space left in your beer fridge? Round out your holiday double IPA rotation with the unexpected, a beer packed with a whopping 11 hop varietals. Yes, 11 (color this writer impressed). Those hops tantalize your tastebuds with passionfruit and citrus (among other notes). Think of it as a crisp, hoppy way to offset a sumptuous dining occasion like Thanksgiving.